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Last Words of 2007
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  December 13, 2007 - reprinted with permission

   I donít know about you but as I get older time seems to fly by faster and faster. When Thursday comes around it seems as though the week is over with but in reality there is still half the week left. What gives anyway? Maybe I am on Congressís time schedule. They get started long about Tuesday and wrap it up by Thursday which means they have a three day work week. Oh I forgot they spend the other four days meeting their constituents. How nice that they are so good to us. They should spend time with us and for a change, ask us what we think about the job they are doing. Having voted both Democrat and Republican I should be able to tell you how good or bad both of them are. The way things are going now I wish there was another party to vote in the primaries that I might be able to join up with for a while. I have never seen such hatred and/or foolishness in government at the federal level in my entire lifetime. Maybe it is time for this present group to wait until the next election and then just resign from congress. Most of the time, I donít mind if congress accomplishes anything because then at least they havenít been able to do harm. Havenít you noticed that hardly a day goes by that one wonders if they are making things worse than they were? I know I feel that way. This was a great opportunity for the in party to roll up their sleeves and get something done if it meant that there was compromising taking place. You and I would know that and would give them proper credit but for some reason they donít seem to see it that way. Most good things have been accomplished in the past when Congress was of one party and the President of the other party. Nancy, Harry and George how about giving it a shot Ė you might make your constituents happy come election time. Isnít that what really counts?
Thinking of elections I was really happy to see how the vote went in Venezuela where the people did not vote in favor of President Hugo Chavez being president for life. As good or bad as things seem between Venezuela and the USA, it was good to see the people vote their hearts stopping Chavez from being president for life. So far the President seems to be taking it well. He has four more years to try something again but at least we saw the people voting which I for one felt good about it. One can see people beat up on America (USA) but also know how good it feels to know some where over the years we have had a lot to do with the feel for democracy in Venezuela. The same might be said to go even in Russia and President Vladimir Putin. It wasnít that many years ago that we had President Ronald Regan saying Mr. Gorbachev ĎTear Down This Wallí and by golly he did it. There again our great country the USA has had a bearing on something democratic going on in Russia even though grudgingly. During 70 of my 86 years I have been interested to see the impact we have had in the democratic process in many countries around the world. I even have confidence that as bad as it has looked in the mid-east I am hopeful that our efforts will see some good from our efforts in the Arabian Peninsula. I spent time over there in the mid 1970s and understand the tremendous challenges one has there to make change but I note that just recently some change even ever so slight is taking place in Saudi Arabia. You know women arenít even allowed to drive a car there and many of these women are very well educated and very contemporary in their thinking so imagine how they are chomping at the bit to make change. Arab menís control over women seems almost worst than during feudal times.

   Tell me how can anyone be so callus as to steal a reported $60,000,000,000, thatís billions, from 43 million seniors and disabled? Our government in general has good intentions when they pass bills to help people but it seems they never have a very good system in place to stop fraud. We read and hear about this time after time and it makes everyone of us sick to know about such abuse and feel so hopeless in not being able to do anything about it. How many billions are scammed from Uncle Sam every year and no one it seems is able to do anything about it? I know Ė just print more money.

   We see the dollar falling in value most every week and again it seems we canít do much about it. As long as we stay home we shouldnít be hurt to badly. I remember the 15% to 18% inflation after the Georgia peanut was booted out of office and we managed to survive it. Letís hope it wonít be near as bad this time and that we wonít suffer too much.
I bought federal treasuries at 15% during that time. Itís just too bad I didnít have a million to invest then. This time we have the Euro and a few other currencies to deal with and it will be interesting to see if the Euro has any impact on our falling dollar. I see some of our quirky Hollywood type making noise about moving their money into the Euro and I say to them also move over there and live in their socialist economy and see how long you like it. Me Iíll ride the dollar wherever it goes. Iím not worried one bit.

   Sixty six years ago this December 7th is that most infamous day in our history that one wonders if the news media and our education system will all but forget about that terrible event in our history. I will never forget that day until I die. I had gotten out of school that spring and was in Rochester Minnesota designing homes for doctors working at the famous Mayo Clinic. That Friday before the seventh I went in to see the boss and tell him I was going to be out of town and in Minneapolis visiting a friend. In the process of that bit of chatter I said to the boss ď isnít it about time I had a raiseĒ the boss in his most elegant manner said, ď Well Ken in fact I was thinking of letting you go as things are slowing down someĒ. So without a job I still went to see my friend in Minneapolis and what a surprise we both had two days later on Sunday December 7th. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and we all know (older folks that is) what happened after that. So I went on home to see my folks who lived in a little town in mid-east Wisconsin and of course was able to visit with my love and future wife Agnes so all was not lost. What made it so great is that in about a week I heard from the Navy Department advising me to get my self out to Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo California as soon as possible. After wondering how that came about I finally realized that while in Rochester I was low boy on the totem pole and was allowed to get the mail every day. On one of those days I saw this help wanted ad by the US government looking for Architects so for a lark I sent in my resume and that is what affected my entire life. So to Mare Island I went and worked there a couple years until we had the yard fully up and running and with not much more to do there I ended up in the United States Navy and ended up spending a couple of very interesting years of my life in the South Pacific and in fact right off the coast of Tokyo Bay where we in the Third Fleet did our thing day and night for the next eleven months until President Harry S. Truman did the next greatest thing in my life when he had the A-bombs dropped and let us all go home to our families. For me that was going home to see wife Agnes who I married on December 26th 1942 when I had a short break from working at Mare Island Navy Yard. Many of you have heard how I proposed to her telling her in a letter that if she didnít want to get married I would go to Yellow Stone Park and would you believe it to this day I have not made that trip. Maybe I should do that before I get to much older.